Men's Basketball

Jan. 11, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On the struggles of Julius Randle:

“You have to understand, he’s in a dogfight. I think right now that he’s the only college player that when he catches the ball, he’s got 3 guys on him. I don’t know if there’s another college player. You’d have to tell me who that would be. And they’re being physical. So he’s not just running down the court, he’s like in a football game. So now, he’s exerting physically, cardiovascularly, and there’s some anxiety, so that could all play into it. He’s doing fine. He’s a beast. I wanted him to dunk a few balls today, but it’s hard to dunk when guys are all over you, body to body.”

On the play of Alex Poythress:

“Defensively, it’s the best he’s ever played. He scrambled and came up with balls and they were not his men. And then the dunks. That’s what our big guys all should be doing. When you go up, don’t think of laying it. I don’t need to know you have a good left hand or right hand. Dunk the ball. Put your head on the rim. That’s what he did today.”

On whether he thought Vanderbilt’s lack of available players affected the game:

“I don’t know. I was not watching that. You’d have to ask their coach.”

Kentucky Forward #15 Willie Cauley-Stein and Guard #3 Jarrod Polson

On expectations of game against Vanderbilt:

Cauley-Stein: “I think we played really good as a team and that’s been one of the biggest things this year is you know the word this year is we’re not a good team. We got selfish guys but I mean the last couple days in practice we have been getting closer basketball wise as a team and then the game just showed.  Like we really do have each other’s back and we really do got good guys.”

On what ways did you really show up today:

Cauley-Stein: “We have these things called hustle points and I think they both were in the high 50’s and that’s really good.  You know when they are in the low 30’s we’re probably down at halftime or something like that, or it’s a one point game. But when they’re in the high 50’s that’s when you start really getting after it.”

On Jarrod only making one three but having two in first half:

Polson: “Yeah I mean I feel pretty confident with my three point shot. We practice all the time with that and I do pretty well in practice so I just an opportunity and took it.”

On game feeling like a ground it out type of game:

Cauley-Stein: “That was one of our things coming in, Coach has been saying we start off real sluggish in the beginning. So we’re just going to start by grinding it out instead of trying to play up and down, and then let the game kind of come to us and then start running.  And I mean that’s what we did.”

On contributing to grinding it out by controlling the boards:

Cauley-Stein: “Personally, I thought I could do a better job at rebounding.  Until Coach started getting on to me about it, I was just letting the guys box me out and I was satisfied with it. But just having that in the back of your head, just like you’re not going to let this guy stop you from trying to get the rebound instead of once you feel his body you stop. You always need to be moving and stuff, and for the most part guys did that. I mean that’s where the rebounding came in.”

On playing a team that is down but who still played a close game:

Cauley-Stein: “I mean definitely, the SEC is tough it doesn’t matter where you go. A team can lose by 50 in one game and then the next game come out and win by 30, it’s just tough especially on the road it’s real tough to play on the road. Once we start to get more into it guys will start to figure it out, until then it’s just going to be like that every game and you’re rarely going to have a game where you blow somebody out.”

On how you think you responded when Vandy made runs:

Cauley-Stein: “I thought we kept our composure pretty well, when they made a run we calmed ourselves down and then made a run back.  Coach preaches that to us all the time, that it’s a game of runs and most of the time whoever has the last run is going to win.”

Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings

Opening Comments:

“We’re disappointed. We played hard enough, but we didn’t play well enough to win. A lot of that has to do with Kentucky. They dominated us on the boards. I thought the key stretch in the game was when we were down 36-31, got some stops, and we turned it over three straight times. We had a chance to cut into [the lead]… Kyle [Fuller] and Dai-Jon [Parker] played 40 minutes… It hurt us having Rod [Odom] in foul trouble. I thought Damian [Jones] was outstanding. We don’t have a good enough margin and it showed up today in a few places. That’s what happens when you get into this situation. Aside from our second half turnovers and the rebounding, I was pleased with what we had. We didn’t have a good shooting day from three, but we got beat by a better team.”

On the Rebounding Differential:

“[Kentucky is] a physical team. They attack offensive rebounds. [Julius] Randle is a great offensive rebounder. I thought [Willie] Cauley-Stein played well for them. Sometimes you watch film and there’s a guy who stands out who you like. He’s that player. You don’t have to make plays for him and he’ll still get you good production. They’re a great offensive rebounding team.”

 On Vanderbilt’s Margin for Error:

 “When you have a really small margin, you have a really small margin. We have what we have. That’s not going to deter us from playing hard, playing together, and being the team we can be.”

 On Vanderbilt’s Zone Defense:

We’ve played more zone in the last two games than we have been all season, which is a shame because we felt our man-to-man defense was coming along.”

On Vanderbilt Forward Rod Odom:

“He’s a hard guy for us to replace [due to foul trouble]. Kyle [Fuller] and Dai-Jon [Parker] were terrific. Rod’s now our leading scorer. Every team needs their leading scorer.”

On Vanderbilt Center Damian Jones:

 “[Kentucky has] some good players, but [Damian] didn’t look out of place to me. He has a really bright future in front of him. He plays well and wants to do well.”

On Vanderbilt’s Effort:

“There was a great crowd in here today, which might have had something to do with it. We have to be a great effort team to be successful.”

Kyle Fuller, G Vanderbilt University

On the inability to fully close gap during one of Vandy’s several scoring runs:

We got close, and we’d get closer but then somebody would hit a big shot, like Young or the Harrison twins, or they’d get there second chance points. That’s just a heart breaker, when you bust your but for 33 seconds and they get the rebound and a whole new shot clock. That really hurt us.

On his 40 minutes of game time in SEC play:

It’s difficult, because it’s so intense. Everyone is so amped up, I even started cramping. That’s not why we lost, I felt like I was ready to go every time, the trainer kept stretching me out. It’s just difficult to come out with a loss after that.

On his current status as indispensable on the floor for VU and knowing substitution buzzers aren’t for him:

I just have to keep pushing through. I’m not going to lie to you, I do sometimes look at the clock to see if were close to TV timeout or something, or I’m kind of hoping the other team calls a timeout so I can catch a breath.

On the increased use of the zone defense as opposed to the usual man to man defense the team is used to:

It’s definitely comfortable to me, because I can catch a breather. If I was playing man to man I don’t know where I would be right now. We worked on it in practice though. Coach said we need to be a compact team. Everybody had to be in the paint, because that’s where they really killed us. The only thing I really wasn’t expecting was one of the Harrison twins hit two threes back to back I think.

On Kentucky’s rebounding ability in this game:

In my opinion, I don’t think they’re that much better than us. But at some point you have to be a bully, or somebody has to hit the bully in the mouth, and I felt like we didn’t do that.

On the lack of depth on Vanderbilt’s roster:

I’m aware of it, and I feel like I have to be better as a Point Guard. I had 5 turnovers, so I feel like if I could bring that down the team would be closer, the runs would be better. I just ffel like I have to be better.

On teammate Dai-Jon Parker’s performance tonight:

It’s absolutely something we need from him now, especially now, consistently. Whatever he did last night, he has to do it again.

On maintaining the effort they put out tonight for the rest of the season:

It’s very hard. I felt like I am going to need to get an ice tub a lot, especially if I play all 40 minutes like that. I definitely think its possible. I believe in everything Coach tells me and I trust him. That’s like my second dad, especially now that I don’t have a dad anymore. I follow him and I trust him.

On the team’s trust in Coach Stall:

We already know that there is no other way to win in this league if we don’t trust him and give that effort.

On the influence of Julius Randle and his absence from much of the game:

Randle is a whole different animal. I have mad respect for his game, but I also feel like we could have gotten him off the boards more. I felt like I should have come down and helped, so my big man has a better chance at the rebound. The ball kept coming out long though, so I stopped. The ball kept going to the Harrison twins and they kept driving it in there.

On VU’s offense when Randle was out:

It changed a lot. He moves his feet well, especially on guard, and when he’s out of the game more things can happen.

On controlling the tempo of the game:

We wanted to make it a half-court game. And we did for the most part, until the end when we had turnovers that were really hurting us.

On the atmosphere of the game, especially the heavy presence of Kentucky fans:

One time I looked up and saw nothing but blue, and I told my teammates ‘We better start swimming, we’re not gonna drown today.” I did feel like we did our part though, just not enough.

On keeping the fan base mostly quiet:

I know, and I loved that, I’m not going to lie to you. I love playing in that crowd and not hearing a dang thing from them. Obviously they got the last laugh though.

On what Damian Jones showed him tonight:

He’s got heart. I love to see that in my center, especially because he’s young. He’s never played in that type of game before and I loved his effort. He’s like a sponge he listens to everything. I told him ’you’re a beast in there, and because of that, people are going to double and triple team you. Pass that rock out to Rod, because he can shoot, or to Dai-Jon, or pass it back to me and I’ll pass it right back to you. He listened to that and it was working and finally he started getting his, and it started flowing.

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